TANFIELD, a chapelry, in the parish of Chesterle-Street, union of Lanchester, Middle division, of Chester ward, N. division of Durham, 7 miles (S.W.) from Gateshead; containing 3,000 inhabitants. This chapelry, which includes the lordship of Beamish and the constablery of Lintz-Green, is bounded on the north by the river Derwent, and comprises 6,863 acres, of which 700, chiefly arable land, are the property of the Marquess of Bute. The common, consisting of 1,040 acres, was divided under an act of parliament, in 1800. The surface is irregularly broken into hills, and the soil generally poor and unproductive. The substratum is chiefly coal; and at Tanfield-Leigh, the marquess and his partners have a colliery of excellent steam-coal, which was opened in 1829, at a depth of 60 fathoms: it is extensively wrought, and the produce sent to Gateshead and South Shields, where it is shipped. The South Tanfield colliery is the property of Messrs. James Reid and Company, of Newcastle; the coal is good, and is shipped from the North dock at Sunderland. Tanfield arch, a stately structure of stone, was erected by certain of the coal-owners, at an expense of £12,000, to replace an arch of wood constructed for facilitating the transit of the coal wagons across a ravine; it is 130 feet in span, and rises from abutments 9 feet high to a height of 60 feet, forming a continuation of the level road. The village consists of houses irregularly built on the declivity of a hill sloping to the north, and near the river Houghwell, which discharges itself into the Tyne a little above Gateshead. The manufacture of paper is carried on in two mills. Tanfield constituted a prebend in the collegiate church of Chester-le-Street, the dean of which was bound to maintain a chaplain here; and at the Dissolution, some provision was made out of the small tithes for the support of a perpetual curate. The chapel, dedicated to St. Margaret, was rebuilt by subscription, in 1749, with the exception of part of the chancel, in which is an ancient piscina: the living is a perpetual curacy, in the patronage of Lord Ravensworth; net income, £140, with a glebe of two acres. The tithes, which are held by his lordship and others, have been commuted for £466.
Extract from: A Topographical Dictionary of England comprising the several counties, cities, boroughs, corporate and market towns, parishes, and townships..... 7th Edition, by Samuel Lewis, London, 1848.